How obvious are Tsali and Pigsah trails without local knowledge?
I've never ridden anything in North Carolina despite living only about 2.5 hours away. I've heard nothing but good things about the trails in the area.
Before I throw my gear in the car and drive to NC, is that an area where a rider with no experience or knowledge of the area can find a good trail and ride it?
I started riding in Colorado and California where trails are fairly well known and easy to follow. Moving to the Southeast, the trails in the Atlanta area are almost all SORBA designed and built and extremely user friendly.
Are Tsali and Pigsah trails relatively easy to find and follow? I don't expect Chicopee-style trail marking and flow but I don't want to drive all the way there and miss the best the area has to offer solely because I didn't know where it was or how to get there.
Tsali is well marked and easy to find/follow. Pisgah on the other hand can get tricky at times. Some trails in Pisgah get more traffic and are marked better than others.
I suggest checking this site out:
Mountain Biking in Western North Carolina - MTB WNC
what southern velo said is exactly my experience. tsali is no problem. pisgah on the other hand can range from no problem finding your way to WTH is the trail? get one of the big maps and advice from one of the local shops and pisgah is a blast.
Tsali is very well marked and not particulary difficult from a technical standpoint. Tsali has the benefit of being close to the NOC too.
I've never ridden Tsali, but I would not recommend Pisgah without a good map. One missed turn out there can change your whole ride.
Parts of Pisgah are much more difficult to figure out than others. Bent Creek might be a great place to start. Good maps are available and the trails there are generally well marked.
Agree with others on Tsali - no problem at all.
Pisgah is a HUGE amount of land, spanning several counties and cities/towns. Tsali is a park. Its much, much smaller...
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I rode Tsali about 2 months ago and had a great time. The trails are marked well enough to ride without a map,which I did but I did ask a few riders in the parking lot about the trails before I got started. I didn't get a chance to ride Pisgah but plan on going back. I also stoped by the LBS in Bryson and talked with the owner. I thought he was a great guy and very informative. He did tell me that 5$ for a map would save a few folks. He says a few people have called him from the trails lost.Lol!
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Tsali is very easy to navigate on your own.
Pisgah is not. PNF is technical. There are lots of climbs -- technical climbs if you choose to climb on singletrack. Depending on the time of year, certain trails are closed (now through April, for example, all of the seasonal trails are closed). It is NOT a SORBA-fied trail system -- it IS the backcountry. Your odds of crashing, bonking, getting lost for hours, etc is much higher than at Chicopee. That said, the trails are marked and the markings are coordinated with the NatGeo map.
I have friends who are experienced riders / racers who do not like riding there. My first time riding there I bonked so hard that I saw Sanford, the Pisgah Gnome AND a sasquatch in the same day!
As for missing the good stuff...well, that's where a guy like me comes in handy. I'll gladly show you around and make sure you get the trip you want and don't miss the good stuff! I've spent a lot of time riding and racing there over the years and can help you put together a great trip.
I'll be racing in PNF in 3 weeks for the P36 -- a 36 hour MTB adventure race. That's how comfortable I am riding there. Let me know if I can help.
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Forget Tsali. Drive over to Brevard and ride Dupont and PNF instead.
Stop by a LBS and pick up a map and ask the guys for route suggestions.
Dupont is about 15 miles from PNF. The trails there are machine built, groomed, and very well marked. It would make for a great first day or two.
Pisgah is a little rough around the edges but, there are some awesome trails there. The "Seasonal trails" are open from mid October through mid April, so they are OPEN NOW.
Just remember this area is a multi use area, and we as bike riders yield to everyone.
yeah, second that. Tsali is a freeway. Get the maps, Du Pont is a bit tamer than Pisgah, but both are AMAZING. I live 1.5 hrs away, and in the spring and summer i ride at either place once a week. Also, there are some pretty WILD races that take place in Pisgah.
I concur with the above. Tsali is easy and flows well and no map is needed. Dupont is the next step up and due to all trails in the system I would get a map or consult local knowledge. PNF is indeed back-country and for your first trip I would definitely get a map and consult local knowledge. Welcome to the area and have a great time.
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Thanks guys! Can't wait to check them out as soon as I have a weekend that's not punctuated by a daughter's horse show or gymnastics meet!
To quote Jimmy Stuart in "It's a Wonderful Life," Why'd we have to have so many kids anyway??
I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.
I rode Tsali solo. Had to drive up from Ft lauderdale to a mini reunion over mother's day weekend, figured might as well take the bike. I rode solo and didn't have any problems, the trails are well marked, but you have to be very alert because its two-way single track (this aspect I'm not used to).
Here a short vid I shot